New Mexico Will Restore Proposed Science Standards

Students

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), applicable to Kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) schools across the state of New Mexico in the US, brings number of guidelines important for kids’ education from kindergarten through high school and they have been adopted by eighteen states and the District of Columbia so far. New Mexico was the next in line to adopt those standards, but they wanted to rephrase the standards and they did it in the wrong way.

According to Patheos, New Mexico officials tossed aside information about the age of the Earth, the rise in global temperature over the past several decades, the term “climate change,” and the acceptance of evolution as the only credible explanation for how we got here. With this version of NGSS the state wasn’t requiring schools to teach those things, which gave a great opportunity for conservative Christians to push their own religious propaganda.

Scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory wrote a letter to the creators of the “New Mexico STEM-Ready Science Standards.” They pointed out that there is no scientific justification for omitting essential information from scientific standards.

“Understanding the human causes of climate change, biological common ancestry and natural selection, and Earth’s slow transformations are all essential to modern scientific literacy. There is absolutely no scientific rationale for weakening the treatment of these subjects in New Mexico K–12 education. Weak treatment of these subjects would be a disservice to our students and, ultimately, a blow to our state’s economic competitiveness, adversely impacting the economy directly through diminished skills of the workforce, and indirectly through a tarnished state reputation that would discourage high-tech firms from locating here.”

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There was a public forum on the revised standards in Santa Fe, and hundreds of people showed up to protest the revised version endorsed by Republicans. Citizens were urging state officials to adopt more rigorous, evidence-based standards used by states with much better academic reputations. The good news is that the protest did its job.

Public Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski announced Tuesday several changes to the final version of the state standards that incorporate suggestions from the public.

The Public Education Department says final standards will restore references to the 4.6 billion-year age of the Earth, the rise in global temperatures over the past century and the process of evolution due to genetic variation. A complete version of the final standards was not released.

Photo Credits: StaticFlickr

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